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Tales from the World Before Yesterday

Jared Diamond, a professor of geography at UCLA, recalls his adventures in New Guinea, including his discovery of the long-lost golden-crested bowerbird:

"So, the New Guinean with me made a trail up as high as we could go. He managed to get a trail up to 4,600 feet. I bird-watched there every day. It was utterly magical, because this is an uninhabited range. The birds were tame. The tree kangaroos were tame. I was there alone. It was just me and the mountain. I followed the same trail every day. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I've had in my life in New Guinea.

"I knew that it was probably too low for the bowerbird. On the day which I got to the highest elevation, I looked up, and there, over my head, was a bowerbird of this group, the amblionus bowerbirds. Oh my God, here's the bowerbird."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 31, 2012
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5102 words)